Pop! Pop! Pop! Kindergartners at House Creek Elementary School listened and watched intently as every kernel of corn popped into the air.
Excitement grew in anticipation of eating the healthy snack. Little did the children know how much they were learning from the simple task of making popcorn.
In accordance with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, the lesson included the five senses, scientific method, poetry and math.
Kindergarten teachers Viktoria Seymour and Barbara Miller designed a lesson plan that incorporated every subject and required their students to think on a much higher level.
“At the kindergarten level, the students are unaware of what their bodies are capable of doing to perform everyday tasks,” Miller said. “We have to break down each skill level for them to have a better understanding of what it is that they are being taught.”
After introducing the five senses through discussion and songs, the students became more aware of their sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell, which gave the students a stronger connection to their surroundings and their environment.
Through the popcorn discovery, TEKS proposes questions including, “What do you think popcorn will taste like?” and “What will popcorn smell like?” activating the students’ prior knowledge of any popcorn experience they may have had.
Miller and Seymour created an anchor chart in the shape of a popcorn box with the five senses listed on it.
Students were asked to select their predictions, which were written on popcorn-shaped pieces of paper.
Next, a poem about popcorn was introduced allowing students to search for sight words as required by TEKS and locate the letter of the week.
The lessons were extended by intertwining math, another TEKS requirement. Students made a graph based on which popcorn flavor they found to be their favorite.
The project lasted a week, so teachers were able to touch on popcorn highlights and spiral back through everything the students learned all week.
At this age, hands-on, manipulation and repetition are key, Seymour said.
“Kindergarten teachers are the architects that design a plan of success for their students,” she said. “We lay the foundation for the students’ educational careers and that is very rewarding.”
This project concluded with Seymour’s and Miller’s classes combining with teacher Beradine Wagner’s class in the popcorn popping event.
“I really liked using the Whirly Popcorn Popper because the students could actually hear the oil sizzling before the popcorn started popping,” Wagner said. “Then when it did start popping, it was really loud, so the children were able to use their sense of hearing.”
It was exactly the reaction Wagner had hoped for in 5-year-old Jayden Cornet.
“I liked hearing the popcorn popping,” he said.
For student Gavin Stahley, 5, it was all about the end result.
“I was really excited to get to eat the popcorn,” he said.